For immediate release March 29, 2018

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces Winner of 2018 Walter J. Jensen Fellowship

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society is pleased to announce that Emelyn Lih (ΦΒΚ, Columbia College), doctoral student at New York University, has been awarded the 2018 Walter J. Jensen Fellowship in recognition of her exceptional promise as a scholar and teacher of French language, literature and culture. Established in 2001 by Professor Walter J. Jensen (ΦΒΚ, UCLA), this award provides this year’s winner with a stipend of $16,400 and round-trip travel to France for six months of continuous study. 

Lih received her B.A. summa cum laude from Columbia University, taught English in Andalucía for a year, and completed a a program of graduate study in literary theory at the École normale supérieure in Paris. 

Lih plans to use the Jensen Fellowship to conduct research exploring the relationship between autobiography and history in the work of two French writers, Michel Leiris and Claude Simon. Entitled “Writing Oneself into the World: Narratives of Self Confront the Twentieth Century,” the project will, in Lih’s words, “show how writing about the self can also be a way to construct a meaningful relationship with a world in crisis.”  In the future, Lih plans to bring these themes into the classroom to encourage students to reflect on their own life narratives and experiment with creative writing in French.

Lih’s commitment to a career as an educator of French made her application stand out. The Jensen Fellowship aims to improve education in French language, literature and culture in the United States, and as one member of the selection panel wrote: “Lih presents herself as a teacher-scholar. . . Her proposal demonstrates the type of commitment to French education that fulfills the goals of the Jensen Award. It is what the donor had in mind, I believe, in establishing this grant.”

For more information on the Jensen Fellowship please email Jen Horneman.


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, almost 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 39 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 130 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit